Posts Tagged Member of the Month

Erika and Joe!

Shoe Size? 9

Favorite post run food? I would have to say pizza.

Why do you run? I love how running makes me feel happy.

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done? I just completed my 10th marathon in November!

Favorite race you’ve ever done? My favorite race is Tecumseh Trail Marathon because it was my first full marathon, plus I’m a big fan of trail running!

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon? I would like to someday finish a half Ironman distance triathlon.

Favorite music? Christian and Pop/Rock.

Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere warm and near the ocean!

Family? I have one younger brother who runs the Indy Mini with me every year along with our mom. My dad isn’t a runner, but enjoys walking his dog.

How did you hear about BoMF? What has BoMF meant to you? Why did you stick with it? I heard about BoMF from a friend at church who is a non-resident runner, Andy Chandler. Andy mentioned BoMF several times and I finally went to a meeting to see what it was all about. BoMF has shown me how the power of community can help us become better people. Alone, we’d probably not be exercising outside in the early hours of the morning or building these friendships. However, together, we are able to become healthier physically, as well as emotionally. I stick with it because I am always in a better mood after running with BoMF!

What is your favorite memory of a time with BoMF so far? I remember one morning last spring we were running downtown from Warman and saw a mouse! I don’t want to name any names, but the little mouse really frightened one resident!

Advice for people who might want to start running with BoMF? I think that the most important thing to remember is always give your best. This is easier said than done, but I know that most of us are stronger than we think!


Circle up with Mike, Erika, Barb, and Joe on a freezing cold race day!


Branch of military: Army

Shoe Size: 10.5

Longest race with BoMF: Drumstick Dash (4.6 miles)

Favorite food before/after race: I LOVE all food minus tomatoes

Favorite Movie: Tie between Brian’s Song and Billie Jack

Favorite kind of music: all kinds, favorite song is Kid Rock’s Born Free

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite place to visit: Hawaii, Italy or France

Life dream: Go to golf school

What do you like about BoMF: I hated running when I got out of the Army because it was my job. Now I do it for fun and enjoy it. It helps me set goals and every run I finish is achieving a goal. I battle addiction and this helps me get through it and I find it therapeutic. I feel better, set goals, achieve them and set larger goals.

 Jay has hit the ground running, literally. Jay quickly took to jogging and now has been running with our fast pace run group. He’s excited seeing his miles accumulate quickly in the running group and has inspired other guys to push themselves harder.



Damon with his stocking that the Manchester Non-Residential teammates put together for the Residential teammates!

Branch of military: Army

Family: Mother, 2 brothers, 1 sister, 2 daughters (28 & 26) and one son (24)

Shoe size: 12

Hometown: Indianapolis

Favorite pre-race food: he doesn’t eat despite all the good advice given to him :-)

Favorite post-race food: bananas and water

Favorite music: Pop – he loves Michael Jackson – no wonder why he was seriously shaking a tail feather at the Drumstick Dash!

Favorite color: Blue

Favorite movie: Scarface

Place he wants to visit: Africa

Goals: get married again, be a good husband, father, grandfather and product member of society

What do you like about BoMF: It’s the true meaning of team work. It’s a relationship with no conditions and provides me with a sense of health. I never thought I could run, but I realize I can!

Damon has been on our injured list for quite some time, but Damon is out with us to open and close the morning with our prayer circle and he does it with a great attitude. He is the first to volunteer for something when we need help and his smile and laugh is always a great start to any one’s morning!

Damon with his Back on My Feet 42K Relay teammates! Team “I’d rather be eating”

Despite joining Back on My Feet only two months ago, Dylan has already become a seasoned runner and integral member of the St. Leonard’s team. He regularly logs 3-4 mile morning runs, helping to explain his quick accumulation of nearly 50 miles. More importantly, he has maintained 100% attendance in the process. Dylan says he is “using the experience to show my children that if you set achievable goals for yourself and commit yourself to them, anything is possible.” He hopes to complete a half marathon before the end of 2012.

Dylan will tell you that his favorite thing about Back on My Feet is “the great group of volunteers that have committed their time to give me a chance to turn my life around.” And Dylan really has turned his life around! Since joining Back on My Feet, Dylan gained employment as the Customer Service Manager at an auto clinic. Ultimately, he hopes to one day obtain a managerial position at a major corporation.

Dylan can tell you more about his experience with Back on My Feet:

“Back on My Feet has given me a new perspective on what I am able to accomplish if I put my all into everything I do. Thank you so much to the volunteers and team members who put their confidence in me; without them my goals couldn’t be achieved.”

I first met James last March when the Back on My Feet  journey began in Indianapolis. He was one of the  inaugural members. If one thing hasn’t changed about James in the past year, it’s his positive attitude and friendly personality. You don’t feel like a stranger when you meet him and would never guess what he happens to be overcoming in his life.

James was our first Member of the Month last March. He had already started the journey to bring him to where he is today, but since then even more has happened.

I have been fortunate enough to watch James grow throughout this process. I remember some of his first one mile runs and was honored to be able to run his first marathon with him eight short months later.

Beyond running marathons, James has accomplished several other monumental goals, since joining Back on My Feet in March 2011, he has stayed sober, quit smoking, lost weight, purchased a car, moved into his own home and started a new job at BoMF employment partner Gilchrist and Soames.

James is an active Alumni Member of the program and still runs with the team on a regular basis. He is also a strong advocate and has spoke about the program to many different companies and organizations in Indianapolis. 

James speaking as an Alumni Member to a group of AT&T employees!

“Back on My Feet was a much needed catalyst, that propelled me into the realm of self discovery and because of this I’ve allowed myself to heal and love me today.” said James “This opened other avenues by building strong relationships with BoMF staff, residents and non-residents. I can say today that I am very happy with me because of this organization.”

Feeling beat after running one mile.

Feeling fantastic on mile 25 of 26.2. NO JOKE. He was killing it. Nothing beats a good training plan!

James after completing the Monumental Full Marathon.

Before we dig into the DEEP STUFF, let’s learn some of the basics about James:

Running Shoe Size: Size 13 in Asics, 14 in Nike

Hometown/Family: I was born in Detroit, MI. When my twin brother and I were of age my Father retired from GM and moved the family to TN (where he and my mom had met) There were eight children at this time, my younger sister passed away in late June of 2002.

Favorite Restaurant: Pei Wei

Favorite Music: All kinds: Country, House (techo) and Alternative. Depends on my mood.

What brought you into Progress House? What were you overcoming?

I arrived at Progress House, homeless, no family, no friends and I was just released from prison. I had been battling a drug and alcohol addiction for the last 10 years.

Why did you join BoMF?

I joined out of curiosity for starters, I had no clue what was I was in store for. I would be lying if i did not say the incentives had a good part of my reason for joining.

What races have you completed with BoMF?

Too many to name on here! (I’m in awe of that still to this day) COMMITMENT BABY that’s what it is all about. I’ve completed a half marathon and a full marathon—– wow, two of the biggest things I’ve ever done. Number one was GETTING SOBER!

In your spare time, what do you like to do?

Listen to music, read about different religions, ride my bike and sleep.

BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals):

I have a 50K planned this summer to make it harder it’s on a trail…. to be continued. I would also like to go back to school at the start of next year, or sooner.

Over the past year, what has changed in your life?

So many things have changed this past year. After a one year stay in Prison, living in a local homeless shelter for seven days and spending an additional fourteen months at the Progress House, I now have my own place. I also have a Truck and went from no job to working two jobs! The biggest change in my life is the way I see people and situations. It like I have on a new pair of glasses!

What kinds of trials & obstacles are you still overcoming?

I’m always in a struggle with myself to do better and be better. The biggest thing I can say now is I’m trying to find that happy medium of balance. God has given me all of these great things and I’m trying to juggle them all.

What does running mean to you?

Running gives me peace of mind and serenity. It is also the place where I feel the closest to my higher power. I feel so centered after a good long run. It’s amazing.

If you could give one piece of advice to a reader who is struggling with overcoming addiction what would it be?

Stop trying to recover and RECOVER! If you can be truly honest with yourself and others and want that monkey of your back God will help you. I’m living proof of this and there are many more like me!

Do you feel like you can now be a mentor to others who are battling what you have been through?

I do! In fact I am mentoring a wonderful guy now who used to be a part of BoMF. He asked me one day if I would help him walk through life. I’ve been taught by my mentor, people in BoMF and my recovery friends to never say no to someone who wants help!

What are some accomplishments are you most proud of?

Obtaining my own place to live… I have never had my own place before.  Running a full marathon, the hard part was training for it. I would not change it for the world.

Another big step for me was the opportunity to make amends to the victim of why I went to prison. We are now the best friends we can be to each other and he is under counseling. I am truly grateful to have had this chance to be a part of the human race today, not just existing, but living.

All time favorite BoMF memory?

Beth and I were at mile nine of our first half marathon and I was losing steam. She noticed and asked me if I knew any Donna Summer songs. I said yes- “I will survive”. She took the serenity prayer and sang it to the tune of I will survive all the way home! I will never forget that, it makes me want to cry just thinking about it. That is how awesome this program has been to me. I have made great friends, forever.


August has been an exciting month for the Lake View Back on My Feet team! Luckily, it’s been a little bit cooler and a lot easier to run. Read more…

On Saturday, September 24th, Team REST went apple picking at Apple Holler in Wisconsin.  Not only did we each get to pick ½ peck of apples, but we also got to taste the different types of apples!  Who knew there were so many different kinds?!  Thank you to Larry – our tallest residential member – who helped us pick the apples from the tops of trees!  After apple picking, we couldn’t leave without tasting some apple cider and donuts.  It’s a fall tradition!  Then we went on an interesting hay ride through the orchard.  While bouncing along, we created our own scary movie series starring pumpkins and the other visitors.

Read more…

Residential team member John started communications classes at Northeastern University in August to finish his bachelors degree.  He also got a job at RDI Business Development in sales.  He is off to a great start and is receiving much praise from his boss.  Read more…

Rodney grew up on the Eastside of Indianapolis and currently works for Roosa Carpet Cleaning. He has two kids, a son who is sixteen and a daughter who is eleven.

He moved to Progress House four months ago when he realized that his life was unmanageable and he needed to stop using. Soon after he moved in he noticed the Back on My Feet community joining together three days a week to circle up and run. He joined team Progress House in July and hasn’t looked back since. He has 100% attendance- hasn’t missed a single day since he started on July 7th!

He completed the Planet Adventure Eagle Creek 5K on August 7th- his first race!  This was a trail race and for those of you who have done any trail running, you know that this is much more difficult than running on the road! Rodney did a great job and even placed in his age group at the race. He had a blast running over logs and climbing the massive hills. When I asked Rodney about the race he said “It was awesome, you never knew what was coming next, it was a thrill ride, like life.”

Shoe Size: 10.5

Age: 37

Favorite Music: Heavy Metal, Typeo Negative

Favorite Athlete: My running partner Jeremy (Pictured on the left with Rodney below)

Favorite Post Run Food: Banana and Peanut Butter

Bucket List: Take a family vacation with both of my kids

Why did you join BoMF? I wanted to get in shape and thought the job training and incentives sounded like a good opportunity! I also thought it would help build my self-esteem.

What is your favorite thing about running with BoMF? Bonding with people, opening up and talking with who I’m running with. Hugging everyone.

Has running helped with staying sober? 100%, running helps. I’ve had times where I’ve thought about using and BoMF is the first thing that comes to my mind, it motivates me to stay focused. I would hate to lose the friendships I’ve made here. I enjoy running, it helps me clear my head and gives me time to pray.

What are your goals now? I have a lot of goals at this point. I want to get my GED, which is something I started a long time ago and now I’m ready to finish it. I am also training for the Back on My Feet 42K Relay and my first 1/2 marathon, the Monumental Half Marathon on November 5th. Prior to coming to live at Progress House, I earned my Commercial Drivers License, but ended up losing it due to some poor choices and that is something I would like to get back. Another lifelong dream of mine is to join the National Guard. I feel like it would be a good way to give back and also build my self confidence. Lastly I would love to take a family vacation with both of my kids.

What’s exciting in your life right now? I just talked to my eleven year old daughter for the first time ever and am really looking forward to building a relationship with her.

Hello, Chicago summer!

The warm temperatures we were missing when the Lake View team first started, are hitting us ten fold. :) It’s always one or the other…

that’s the way Chicago works don’t you know? It’s been a quiet month but a steady one.

Laura, Jay and Mick accompanied a couple of the guys to the first-ever Beach-a-thon. Steven made sure to choose his words carefully when describing how “fun” it was.

I think it was harder than they thought it would be. But fun, it was.

All of our members have maintained an above-90% attendance rate! We’re so, so proud of all of them.

And, congrats to both Joe and Steven, who flew past the 50 mile mark this month—these two are powerhouses, but watch out—Carmacho and Raymond are hot on their tails.

Michael is still enjoying his position with the Park District as a counselor—and already looking for another one to round out his summer. Fingers crossed, it all works out.

We’re all looking forward to our first 5K and 10K next weekend… let the racing begin! Read more…

August brings record breaking temperatures in Dallas and an awesome new batch of Members of the Month! What does it take to be recognized as a Member of the Month? These runners demonstrate the spirit of BoMF, determination, confidence and strength. They understand the meaning of a team and are an integral part of the BoMF family. They are more than deserving of double hugs this month!

Deborah Witt, Non-Residential Member, Dallas LIFE
“Since joining the Dallas Life team, BoMF has provided additional opportunities for me to be involved with the program and residents. I participated in a 2.0 Orientation, facilitated a Financial Literacy class, planned special events, and recruited two co-workers.  Needless to say, I believe in this program. I know how lives are touched and changed – especially mine! BoMF adds value to my life.”
Joe McCullough, Residential Member, Dallas LIFE
“I joined BoMF to better myself and improve myself in areas where I thought I was lacking. I like the environment that I wake up to in the morning. If it wasn’t for ya’ll inspiring me, I wouldn’t have made it this far. I like all aspects of it. I think it’s good for a person to get up to learn discipline.”
Nelson Prater, Non-Residential Member, Salvation Army
“I guess my favorite part of running with BoMF is seeing the courage and determination on the faces of those getting out there to run. I’ve been running for a long time, and for some long distances, so I had forgotten that running is really a very hard thing to do. For me, it’s leisure time. So, when I get to run with people who are really giving it their all, it inspires me tremendously.”
Audelia Polk, Residential Member, Salvation Army
Audelia completed her first 5K on August 6, 2011 at the Melon Dash 5K. At the tender age of 71, Audelia placed in her age group and continues to inspire others on her team.
Erica Martinez, Non-Residential Member, The Bridge
“Gloria [Residential Member] and I have done several races together with a run/walk approach and we always finish races with our hands up high. She warms my heart. I love how supportive she is of everyone; and whether she knows it or not, she’s a valuable mentor to a lot of the members.”
Trina Stimpson, Residential Member, The Bridge
“I needed more structure in my life. It helps motivate me to move onto the next step that I’m trying to get to. The running in the mornings clear my mind. In the future, I see myself stable, with my own place, a part time job and in school. BoMF has taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to. I hope to complete a half marathon in November.”